3769. And a great stone was upon the well's mouth. That this signifies that the Word was closed, is evident without explication. The Word is said to be closed when it is understood solely as to the sense of the letter, and when all that is in this sense is taken for doctrine. And it is still more closed when those things are acknowledged as doctrinal things which favor the cupidities of the love of self and of the world; for these especially roll a great stone upon the mouth of the well, that is, close up the Word; and then mankind do not know, neither do they desire to know, that there is any interior sense in the Word, when yet they may see this from many passages where the sense of the letter is unfolded as to the interior sense; and also from the doctrinal things received in the church, to which by various explications they refer all the sense of the letter of the Word.
 What is meant by the Word being closed may be seen especially from the Jews, who explain each and all things according to the letter, and thence believe that they are chosen in preference to all nations on the face of the earth, and that the Messiah will come to bring them into the land of Canaan and exalt them above all nations and peoples of the earth; for they are immersed in earthly corporeal loves, which are such that they altogether close up the Word as to interior things. Therefore also they do not yet know whether there is any heavenly kingdom, whether they shall live after death, what the internal man is, nor even that there is anything spiritual; still less do they know that the Messiah has come to save souls. That the Word is closed with them, may be sufficiently evident also from the fact that although they live among Christians, they do not receive the least of their doctrinal things-according to the following words in Isaiah:
Say to this people, Hearing, hear ye, and do not understand; and seeing, see ye, and do not perceive. Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes. And I said, Lord, how long? And He said, Until the cities be waste without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the ground be wasted to a solitude (Isa. 6:9-11; Matt. 13:14-15; John 12:40-41).
 For insofar as a man is immersed in loves of self and of the world, and in the cupidities of these loves, so far the Word is closed to him; for these loves have self as their end, which end kindles a natural lumen, but extinguishes heavenly light, so that men sharply see the things of self and the world, but not at all those of the Lord and His kingdom; and when this is the case, they may indeed read the Word, but it is with the end of acquiring honors and riches, or for the sake of appearance, or from the love and consequent habit of it, or from piety, and yet not from a purpose of amending the life. To such persons the Word is in various ways closed; to some so much that by no means are they willing to know anything but what their doctrinal things dictate, whatever these may be.
 For example: should anyone say that the power of opening and shutting heaven was not given to Peter, but to the faith of love, which faith is signified by Peter's keys, inasmuch as the love of self and of the world opposes this, they will by no means acknowledge it. And should anyone say that saints ought not to be worshiped, but the Lord alone, neither do they receive this. Or if anyone should say that by the bread and wine in the Holy Supper is meant the Lord's love toward the universal human race, and the reciprocal love of man to the Lord, this they do not believe. Or should anyone assert that faith is of no avail unless it is the good of faith, that is, charity, this they explain inversely; and so with everything else. They who are of this character cannot see one whit of the truth that is in the Word, nor are they willing to see it, but abide obstinately in their own dogma; and are not even willing to hear that there is an internal sense wherein is the sanctity and glory of the Word, and even when they are told that it is so, from their aversion thereto they loathe the bare mention of it. Thus has the Word been closed, when yet it is of such a nature as to lie open even into heaven, and through heaven to the Lord, and it is closed solely in relation to man, insofar as he is in the evils of the love of self and of the world in respect to his ends of life, and in the consequent principles of falsity. From this it is evident what is signified by a great stone being upon the well's mouth.